What is a permanent resident

As the name denotes, a permanent resident status enables one to permanently settle and live in the United States and work in the US. An individual with this status is issued an “Alien Registration Receipt Card” as evidence of status. This card is commonly known as the “Green Card.” This card has a lifespan of ten years and the expiration date of the card appears on the face of the card. This card can be replaced by filing and filing Form I-90, “Application to Replace Alien Registration Card” with the appropriate fees. Since the application fees changes so dramatically within a short period, make sure to check the most recent fee schedule of the BCIS.

How can one adjust status based upon familial relationship?

Adjusting status through a family relationship is usually a two step process. First, the qualifying family member must submit a visa petition on behalf of relative by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once the visa petition is approved by the appropriate BCIS office, then adjustment application known as I-485 will be made. The only exception for this two-step process is when the beneficiary of the visa petition is an “immediate relative.” In such cases, one can concurrently file the I-130 along with the I-485.

Who can file a petition on behalf of relatives?

A citizen can file a petition for a spouse, unmarried child under age twenty one, or parents. These are immediate relatives. Moreover, a citizen can also file for an unmarried child of any age twenty one or above, a married child of any age, or a brother or sister. A permanent resident can file a petition for a spouse, your unmarried child under age twenty one, you unmarried child age twenty one or above. A permanent resident cannot file foe married child, for a parent or siblings.

Who are qualifying relatives?

First Preference: unmarried, adult sons and daughters of US citizens. For more, see
Second Preference: Spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents
Third preference: Married sons and married daughters of US citizens
Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of US citizens

What is the definition of “child” for immigration purposes?

A stepchild is a “child” for immigration purposes if the child was under the age of 18 when the marriage creating the step relationship occurred. Also, note that the end of the parent’s relationship can outlast the marriage that created it. Where the natural parent has died after marriage to the stepparent, the step parent can still petition for the step child.

A child born out of wedlock is a “child” under the INA definition. Adopted child is also a child if the adoption takes place before the age of 16 and the child must have been in the legal custody of, and resided with, either or both of the adopting parents for at least two years. Note that legal custody need not be physical custody. Additionally, the two year residency or cohabitation requirement can be satisfied with time either before or after adoption.

What is the processing time for each of the preferences?

Relatives obtain visa numbers based upon the preference category in which they belong. Immediate relatives of US citizens, who include parents, spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21, can immediately file for adjustment without any regard to visa availability.

How can one adjustment as a permanent resident based on employment?

Most employment petitions requires a two tier process: first, labor certifications must be filed and approved; second, the BCIS must approve I-140.

What are the different categories through which a foreigner can adjust status based upon employment?

First Preference: are considered priority workers. These include extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts education, education, business or athletes; outstanding professors or researchers; multinational managers.

Second Preference: include professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability including advanced degree professionals; qualified aliens physicians who will practice medicine in an underserved area in the US.

Third Preference: skilled workers, professionals and other workers, including BA degrees.Fourth Preference:

Special immigrants including religious workers and employees and former employees of the US government abroad.

Fifth Preference: Investors.

Which of the employment categories require the certification from the Labor Department before filing to the BCIS?

Employers of second and third preference beneficiaries will require certification. Employment based petitions for other categories such as multinational managers, or religious workers are filed directly with the BCIS.

Can I Adopt a Child Born in a Foreign Country and File an Orphan Petition to Bring the Child in the United States?

A married US citizen may file an orphan petition. The spouse of the petitioner need not be a US citizen. However, if the spouse is in the United States he or she must be legally living in the United States. An unmarried US citizen of 25 years or older might also file for an orphan petition.

There will be two steps before you are enabled to bring the child in the United States. First it has to be determined weather the petitioner qualifies to be an adopter. For this the petitioner needs to apply for advanced processing. This is an application to determine weather you qualify to be an adopter. It is possible and recommendable to file the USCIS form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) even before you have identified the foreign born child that you want to adopt. As the second step you have to file USCIS Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) on behalf of the child.

Is It Possible to Bring My Fiancée to the United States?

If you a US citizen you can file a petition for your fiancé with whom you plan to get married in the United States. There is a requirement that you must have met with your fiancée in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancé visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancée in person would violate long-established customs, or if meeting your fiancée would create extreme hardship for you. You and your fiancée must marry within 90 days of your fiancée entering the United States.

How is it Possible to File a K-Non immigrant petition for a Spouse or a Child of a US Citizen?

Spouses and children of a United States citizen could be admitted to the United States in a non immigrant category. In such instances, the spouse or the child of a United States citizen would be enabled to complete processing for permanent residence while in the United States. A visa obtained by a spouse of a US citizen in such a manner is a K-3 visa. People in these categories are eligible to get work permits while waiting for their obtaining the status of a permanent resident. K-4 for dependents of K-3 beneficiaries can be obtained by the unmarried and under 21 years old child of the person that is eligible for a K-3 visa.

How Can I Remove the Conditionality of my Permanent Resident Status Based on Marriage?

If a permanent resident status was obtained as a result of a marriage that has been concluded less that two years from the day you were given permanent residence, you need to apply to remove the conditionality of your status after two years. To remove the conditionality from your status of a permanent resident, you need to apply for removal of such conditions during the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident. Generally, you have to apply for the removal of the conditions together with your spouse. You could lose your conditional resident status and be removed from the country if you do not apply to remove the conditions in time.

Can be a permanent status be rescinded?

Yes. Your green card can be rescinded if it is determined by an Immigration Judge that you have abandoned your US residency, committed a crime resulting in removal proceedings, or has provided fraudulent information to acquire such status in the first place.

What are other means of gaining resident status?

Asylees and Refugees: If an alien has held refugee or asylee status for at least for one year, she can apply for adjustment of status. AN asylee must show that she continues to meet the definition of a refugee or is a spouse or child of an asylee. Upon approval of an application for adjustment of status, permanent residence is backdated for one year. As for refugees, the granting of adjustment of status for a refugee results in permanent residence as of the date of arrival in the United States.
Battered spouse or child: The immigration provisions of Violence Against Women Act allow certain battered immigrants to file for immigration relief without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge, in order to seek safety and independence from the abuser. Under the Violence Against Women Act, spouse and children of US citizens or lawful permanent residents may self-petition to obtain permanent residence.

Diversity lottery: Is available to people who come from countries with low admission rates. The State Department holds the lottery every year and randomly selects approximately 110, 000 applicants from qualified entries. However, only 55,000annual immigrant visas will be eventually available. Because, more people will be notified of selection that will actually be granted visas, aliens selected for visas must act quickly before the 55000 cap is reached.

How Can I Apply for Asylum?

You can apply for asylum in the United States if you fulfill the definition of a refugee as provided in 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). According to that part of the law, a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. You can apply for asylum weather you are legally or illegally present in the United States. You have to apply for asylum with in one year of your arrival in the United States. It might also be possible to apply for asylum after one year since your arrival in the United States. This is so if there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file within one year. These may include changes in the conditions of your country, in your own circumstances and other events. The appropriate form to file to request asylum is I-485. You have to fill that carefully and file it to the appropriate service center. You can also apply for asylum at the time of your entry in the United States. In this case you can ask for asylum at the port of entry. There is no fee for filing asylum.

Who are Resettled in the United States as Refugees?

Generally, refugees are people who were persecuted in their countries or have a well-founded fear of persecution there on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Refugees who are found in a country other than their own could be resettled to the United States.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or a United States embassy may refer certain refugees for resettlement in the United States. This is one way of resettlement of refuges in the United States. On the other hand it is also possible for the United States government to decide to resettle refugees of specified groups with special characteristics in certain countries. These categories are to be periodically determined by the United States government.

Who Needs a Travel Document?

A travel document is a document that would allow individuals who are of were once asylees or refugees to return back to the United States after having made a trip abroad. These people are given a travel document because it is assumed that they can not get a passport form their country of nationality. Generally you should apply for a travel document before leaving the United States.

Who Needs a Re- Entry Permit?

It is a permit given to lawful permanent residents who intend to travel and stay abroad for more than one year. If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States intending to travel abroad and stay for more than one year, you have to apply for re-entry permit before leaving the United States.

Who Needs an Advance Parole?

Most aliens whose applications are pending for immigration benefits or for changes in non immigrant status need to apply for advance parole if they are intending to travel abroad.